PayDay 2 continues some of the same gameplay experience in PayDay: The Heist but has been overhauled in regards to its graphics and game mechanics. Players will notice that stealth and shooting mechanics are more polished in PayDay 2 which makes the overall game experience that much better. PayDay 2 can be played online with four other players or offline with two AI partners. However, the AI are somewhat clumsy and not as helpful as you would like them to be.
The biggest draw to PayDay 2 is the realism brought to life in the game's story and menu system. The game features real video footage that plays during loadouts or in the background of missions which adds a high degree of immersiveness. I loved the idea that real human faces were used in the video footage that helped brief you for crimes instead of a cartoon/animated character. This small aspect makes you feel like you are truly planning for your next heist and getting the info for it from real people. This real-world footage often showcases the vehicles you are escaping in, moments from the heist or even mission objectives from the Russian mobster Ivan.
PayDay 2 starts out by introducing the player to the safe house where they are given the low down on the basics of being a criminal. You learn the core components of grabbing sacks of cash, how to shoot your weapon, and other details needed to commit the perfect heist. Players can surf the computer connected to Crime Net to pick new locations to scout for possible heists with each heist being ranked in terms of its difficulty level. Basically, you want to start out with the easiest heists until you get the hang of things.
Each mission allows the player to earn even more cash which is used to buy better weapons and gear for future heists. Players can also gain XP which helps them unlock new skills and equipment. Your success as a criminal depends on taking advantage of all the unlockables and weapons since you will feel immediately ill-equipped once you embark on your first mission. Basically, you start out with hardly any tools and have to unlock equipment to conduct seamless, successful heists for more cash. However, getting to this point requires you to take on a lot of insanely messy and amateurish jobs. Basically you will start out with such jobs as bashing up a mall or stealing from a small jewelry store before you move on to hardcore bank robbing.
PayDay 2 features an easy to use interface that clearly defines your mission objectives, difficulty levels, alongside your rewards and bonus offerings. Once you complete your mission then you can head back to the hideout to count your loads of cash and try out any new weapons. Players will quickly notice that each heist has two phases which consists of casing the job and then the actual heist. Casing allows you to develop a proper strategy and how you want to proceed with the robbery. Items such as jewels and safes are semi-random and will appear in a different location every time you play. PayDay 2 is a 4-player co-op game and requires players to make decisions as a team. A successful heist only comes from everyone being on the same page. I mean, you can't have one person going in for a stealthy approach while the others are doing a crash-and-grab. PayDay 2 is extremely fun and a hell of a lot easier with four other players then it is playing solo with the AI.
All-in-all, PayDay 2 is everything you could want from a multiplayer game. PayDay 2 features a kick-ass soundtrack, exquisite graphics and an immersive storyline. Replayability is also very high in PayDay 2 due to the vast amounts of unlockables and character progressions. PayDay 2 may not be perfect due to its clumsy AI and its initially steep learning curve but everything else seems to be spot on. Nothing is sweeter than when you finally find that perfect team and complete your first perfect heist. Once you have everything lined up then nothing can stop you from that next big Payday!
Payday 2 is now available for PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 for $29.99. Diehard fans can also pick up Payday 2: Collectors Edition for $59.99 that comes with a heist mask, gloves, wallet and copy of the game's soundtrack to complete the perfect heist. Payday 2 is rated M by the ESRB for Blood, Drug Reference, Intense Violence, Strong Language & Suggestive Themes. For more information on the game, check out the official Payday 2 website.
Publisher: 505 Games
Platforms: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 (reviewed) & PC
Release Date: August 13, 2013
Score: 8.5 out of 10